On June 21st, Bharti Airtel and Tata Group announced a strategic partnership for implementing 5G network solutions for India. A 5G pilot should start in January 2022, unless it’s delayed by India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT).
The announcement underscores a push for indigenous made 5G solutions in India. Despite tremendous hype, the world’s second-largest telecom market has not yet launched commercial 5G service.
Airtel’s partnership with Tata Group allows the telecom operator to take head-on, rival Reliance Jio’s so called “homegrown 5G solutions.” Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio is accelerating the rollout of digital platforms and indigenously-developed next-generation 5G stack.
According to a statement, Tata Group has developed O-RAN (Open Radio Access Network) based radios and 5G NSA/SA (Non-Standalone=4G-LTE/Standalone) Core and has integrated a totally indigenous telecom stack, leveraging the Group capabilities and that of its partners.
“Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) brings its global system integration expertise and helps align the end-to-end solution to both 3GPP and O-RAN standards, as the network and equipment are increasingly embedded into software,” the Tata statement added.
Airtel will pilot and deploy this indigenous solution as part of its 5G rollout plans in India, with a pilot beginning in January 2022, as per the norms formulated by the government.
Gopal Vittal, Managing Director & CEO (India and South Asia) Bharti Airtel said, “We are delighted to join forces with the Tata Group to make India a global hub for 5G and allied technologies. With its world-class technology ecosystem and talent pool, India is well positioned to build cutting edge solutions and applications for the world. This will also provide a massive boost to India becoming an innovation and manufacturing destination.”
N Ganapathy Subramaniam from the Tata group/TCS said, “As a group, we are excited about the opportunity presented by 5G and adjacent possibilities. We are committed to building a world-class networking equipment and solutions business to address these opportunities in the networking space. We are pleased to have Airtel as our customer in this initiative.”
Airtel is a board member of the O-RAN Alliance and is committed to explore and implement O-RAN-based networks in India. Earlier this year, Airtel became the first telecom company in India to demonstrate 5G over its LIVE network in the city of Hyderabad. The company has started 5G trials in major cities using spectrum allocated by the Department of Telecom.
The Tata group’s telecom and media enterprises cater to the communication requirements of global business houses to SMEs, and from wholesale to home networks. TCS is a member of the O-RAN Alliance.
Headquartered in India, Airtel is a global communications solutions provider with over 471 mn customers in 18 countries across South Asia and Africa. The company ranks amongst the top three mobile operators globally and its networks cover over two billion people. Airtel is India’s largest integrated communications solutions provider and the second-largest mobile operator in Africa. Airtel’s retail portfolio includes high-speed 4G/4.5G mobile broadband, Airtel Xstream Fiber that promises speeds up to 1 Gbps with convergence across linear and on-demand entertainment, streaming services spanning music and video, digital payments, and financial services. For enterprise customers, Airtel offers a gamut of solutions that includes secure connectivity, cloud and data centre services, cybersecurity, IoT, Ad Tech, and cloud-based communication. For more details visit www.airtel.com
About the Tata Group:
Founded by Jamsetji Tata in 1868, the Tata group is a global enterprise, headquartered in India, comprising 30 companies across ten verticals. The group operates in more than 100 countries across six continents, with a mission ‘To improve the quality of life of the communities we serve globally, through long-term stakeholder value creation based on Leadership with Trust’.
Tata Sons is the principal investment holding company and promoter of Tata companies. Sixty-six percent of the equity share capital of Tata Sons is held by philanthropic trusts, which support education, health, livelihood generation, and art and culture. In 2019-20, the revenue of Tata companies, taken together, was $106 billion (INR 7.5 trillion). These companies collectively employ over 750,000 people.
Each Tata company or enterprise operates independently under the guidance and supervision of its own board of directors. There are 29 publicly-listed Tata enterprises with a combined market capitalization of $123 billion (INR 9.3 trillion) as of March 31, 2020. Companies include Tata Consultancy Services, Tata Motors, Tata Steel, Tata Chemicals, Tata Consumer Products, Titan, Tata Capital, Tata Power, Tata Advanced Systems, Indian Hotels, and Tata Communications.
For more details visit www.tata.com.
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